Tree to 25 feet, glabrous leaves to 2 feet across, deeply palmately 7-lobed, the lobes pinnately lobed; flowers yellowish, to 1 inch long or more, male flowers slender, long-tubed, in long-peduncled, axillary racemes to 3 feet long, female flowers broader, solitary or few together, on short peduncles; male plants sometimes bearing a few female or bisexual flowers; fruit elongate to globose, with a central cavity, greenish-yellow to orange, to 20 inches long, with thick, yellow or orange flesh, seeds many, black.
The fruit size varies from 4 to 20" and from 2 to 20 pounds. The flesh is soft and juicy, orange-yellow or salmon pink, surrounding a cavity containing numerous brown-black pea-size seeds which can be used as a spice (some people chew them). Unripe papaya can be cooked as a vegetable.
data regenerated on Sat, 27 May 2017 00:22:07 -0400